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The Safety in Action Conference

The Safety in Action Conference is a two-day, high profile conference for Safety leaders.

10-11 September 2019 | Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

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The Safety in Action Conference is a two-day, high profile conference for Safety leaders. As the premier conference of the year, the Safety in Action Conference brings together Safety leaders in the health and safety profession, to encourage global involvement and networking across the two days. Over 700 delegates have attended the conference in the last two years to hear from regulators, thought-leaders and International keynotes who are making a difference in safety culture. This year’s program will explore key Health & Safety topics, by linking Safety Strategy, Leadership and Culture.

Running concurrently with the Workplace Wellness and Return to Work Conference, and in adjacent rooms, you will be able to switch sessions and plan a track to suit your requirements.

To receive updates on the conference, register your interest and we will notify you of updates as they happen.

Co-located with the three conferences is the Safety in Action Trade show, Australia’s leading occupational health and safety event. The Safety in Action Show is trade only event and is free to attend. Find out more here




8:00 am

Registration and morning coffee


8:50 am

OPENING | Opening remarks from the Chair

Sarah-Jane Dunford, Director and Principal, Consultant of Riskology

8:55 am

Address from WorkSafe Victoria

Julie Nielsen, Executive Director Health and Safety, WorkSafe Victoria


9:15 am

Steve Bell and Nerida Jessup from leading law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, will present an update on recent legal developments across the WHS landscape including summarising recent cases on personal duties, corporate failings and public safety matters. Steve and Nerida will also give an update on proposed reforms to national WHS laws.

9:35 am

Patrizia Cassaniti, after the tragic loss of her 18-year-old son, Christopher, is campaigning for better safety standards. In April, Christopher Cassaniti was crushed and suffocated to death by 17 metres of fallen scaffolding at his Macquarie Park worksite. Patrizia and her husband Robert are fighting for justice and lobbying for #ChristophersLaw. She hopes to encourage new legislation that provides workers the right to remove themselves from a dangerous situation if they feel unsafe, without fear of persecution.

9:50 am

  • Update on Industrial Manslaughter legislation in Victoria
  • How does Victoria’s IM legislation compare with Queensland and the ACT?
  • Is criminalization the right way to enforce OHS regulations, and improve safety outcomes?
  • State or federal IM laws?

10:20 am

MINISTERIAL ADDRESS | Video presentation from the Minister

The Hon Jill Hennessy MP, Minister for Workplace Safety

10:30 am

Morning tea and networking break


11:00 am

During this informative, interactive and dynamic keynote session, you will be emboldened to continue sharing the message of safety awareness internally and externally. Leave with new ideas and strategies to energize workplace relationships at all levels, with tangible and long-term results. This session will:

  • Create a profound impact on organisational performance by harnessing new approaches and removing boundaries around safety
  • Showcase your ideas for maximum impact during one-on-one or group meetings
  • Enlighten leaders, co-workers and stakeholders with compelling reasons to ensure your safety messages are heard, supported and understood
  • Apply the power of positive influence with an open mind, ensuring greater buy-in
  • Raise your profile internally and strengthen the profile and reputation of safety leaders

12:00 pm

Lunch, networking break and Exhibition viewing


1:30 pm

Sydney Metro is the largest public transport project in Australia. Personnel in leadership positions directly and indirectly influence the safety decisions of thousands of workers daily. Through a case study of the first stage of the project, Sydney Metro Northwest, this session will explore:

  • The knowledge, skills and experiences of project leaders that ultimately lead to an inherent value for the safety of others
  • Successfully implementing and sustaining good leadership to drive a culture of safety
  • Delivery of a safe and successful mega project

1:50 pm

Recent Australian data has found that on average, 31% of incidents go unreported and in some organisations this figure rises as high as 53%*. And it’s not just frontline workers failing to report; leaders and managers also underreport at alarming rates. This session will:

  • Explore underreporting insights from a research study of 12,460 participants, across team, leader and management levels
  • Understand the three key drivers of underreporting and the risks to your business
  • Outline proven strategies for addressing underreporting

*based on a sub-sample of 6,899 participants in Australia.

2:10 pm

  • Empowering staff to Speak Up For Safety using the Safety C.O.D.E.
  • Introducing weCare – a disrupter to keep us all at Melbourne Health accountable for our behaviours and living the values
  • Implementation challenges and the outcomes that have been achieved
  • Where to after two years? Leadership development and humility
  • In the words of our people, ‘We’re not there yet, but keep going!’

2:30 pm

In 2016, drilling contractor Mitchell Services was facing its highest number of injuries to date. Realising that the existing oversupply and negativity of safety messaging wasn’t getting through, the company embarked on Operation Homestretch. This session will outline:

  • The remarkably simple, zero-budget changes that led to a safety turnaround
  • Safety Differently principles to directly engage, learn and improve systems of work form the people who do the work
  • How Mitchell Services achieved significant injury severity reduction rates achieved while tripling its workforce, and earning the trust of its workforce

In this refreshing case study, learn just how easy it is to improve safety practices on limited resources if the focus is on the worker.

3:00 pm

Afternoon tea and networking break


3:30 pm

Jonah Group has improved the safety culture and systems of Australia’s largest organizations. This session will provide key insights, and strategies, to help managers:

  • Understand how the brain introduces additional hazards
  • Learn how to use that information to drive human reliability in safety

4:00 pm

  • Targeting the big risks
  • Balancing these against ‘smaller’ risks
  • Slips, trips and falls are important, but it’s most important to make sure you don’t kill your people.

4:20 pm

The impacts of mental illness and ill-health in the workplace have never been higher or more visible. Despite this, many organisations continue to struggle with the effective management of psychosocial risks. These risks, which cover the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on people’s physical and mental wellbeing, directly relate to our ability to function. An ongoing reliance on the reactive management of mental health ‘cases’ as they arise, or initiatives to help employees ‘cope’ better. These alone are not enough. A new approach is needed.

In this interactive session, participants will gain valuable insights concerning the most important aspects of psychosocial risk management via a real-life case study. The session will also cover pitfalls to avoid in trivialising or over simplifying what is one of the most challenging health and safety challenges of our time.

4:40 pm

CLOSING | Closing remarks from the Chair

4:50 pm

END OF DAY ONE | Networking Drinks

8:50 am

OPENING | Opening remarks from the Chair


9:00 am

Answering the Call: Mental health and wellbeing in Australia’s police and emergency services

James Maskey, National Engagement Manager, Police & Emergency Services Program, Beyond Blue

9:30 am

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals was implemented in Australia under the model WHS laws in 2012. Global implementation has progressed, and updated revisions of the GHS are being implemented in major economies. The process for moving to an updated revision in Australia, and the potential impacts and benefits will be discussed.

10:00 am

  • Safety as an asset and an opportunity rather than cost avoidance
  • ROI on safety initiatives
  • Culture improvements

10:30 am

Morning tea and networking break


11:00 am

Injuries related to poor ergonomics remain the most frequently occurring and expensive workplace injury type. Finding the cause can be complex, however, and the solutions not always obvious. This session will:

  • Present a practical three-point framework for how the best businesses go about managing this risk
  • Explore smart consultation and training people in the right skills
  • Effective risk monitoring systems and using ergonomics in task design

11:30 am

This session will outline the three critical components needed for a human-centred, positive and sustainable safety culture, share the proven integrated approach that will transform accountability and trust within your organisation, and give you a practical insight into how to multiply the intelligence of your teams to double their safety efforts and commitment.

12:00 pm

Lunch, networking break and Exhibition viewing


1:30 pm

Talking is the most difficult step. In this inspirational session, Louise shares her personal story with mental illness, and explores a project delivering timely, accessible psychological assessments and services. Hear about:

  • The development of Virtual Psychologist and impact thus far from a major Australian Government project
  • How data-backed, evidence-based technologies are shaking up the traditional EAP model
  • How real-time, virtual access to qualified psychologists is making a real difference to remote workers

2:00 pm

An AFL industry ‘Mental Health Industry Review’ involved all AFL clubs and key stakeholder organisations contributing to the development of an industry-wide strategy to support, manage, and maximise mental health of staff and players. This session presents an overview of the processes and learnings tied to this unique, extensive and independent research, which was commissioned by the AFL Industry Governance Committee for Player Development.

2:20 pm

In a world where we are all under pressure, always-on and constantly distracted, our capacity to manage attention – for ourselves, those we lead and influence – is critical. Finding that space to be present and respond rather than react on autopilot makes all the difference. But it takes more than just talk – find out how.

2:40 pm

Examples of how Australia Post uses data analytics to understand safety exposures, inform what proactive initiatives to take, and measure the outcomes that drive improvements in safety results

3:00 pm

Afternoon tea and networking break


3:30 pm

  • Effective technology-enabled approaches
  • Innovative ways to improve operational efficiencies through front-line engagement
  • A comparative analysis of different sites and different safety experiences, lessons learned

4:00 pm

Victoria holds around 70% of Australia’s asbestos-containing water pipes, outlining the need to develop a nationally consistent long-term strategy for the safe management, removal, transport and disposal of water pipes containing asbestos. This session will explore:

  • How Energy Queensland aims to become asbestos-free by 2030
  • Highlight the prioritised removal processes and effective waste management of Australia’s legacy asbestos-containing materials
  • Outline best practice in asbestos management and removal

4:30 pm

Personnel are not typically selected for their underlying safety motivations. Personalising the rationale for the regulation (Risks or Threats) as well as the benefits (personal and professioal) of change enhances the likelihood of adopting appropriate change behaviours. This session will:

  • Explore CASA’s new fatigue regulation (CAO 48.1 2019), as an example of aligning individual motivations with organizational safety
  • Compare results from a study on defence personnel on FRMS

5:00 pm

CLOSING | Closing remarks from the Chair

5:10 pm



The Hon Jill Hennessy MP

Minister for Workplace Safety

Michelle Ray

Author, Leadership Expert & Accountability Catalyst | Founder, Lead Yourself First Enterprises

Julie Nielsen

Executive Director Health and Safety, WorkSafe Victoria

Aaron Guilfoyle

Work Health and Safety Prosecutor, Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor Queensland

Patrizia Cassaniti

Workplace Safety Campaigner, Christopher’s Law and Touched by Christopher

Steve Bell

Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills

Marie Boland

Lawyer and Workplace Relations Consultant | 2018 Independent Reviewer of the Model WHS Laws

Louise Howard

Acting Deputy Executive Director Safety & Security, Sydney Metro

Ben Carnell

Principal Consultant, Sentis

Josh Bryant

General Manager – People and Risk, Mitchell Services

Nada Wentzel

Global Solutions Director and Executive Coach, Jonah Group

James Maskey

National Engagement Manager, Police & Emergency Services Program, Beyond Blue

Ellen Flint

Executive Director People and Culture, Melbourne Health | Royal Melbourne Hospital

Roberto Garcia

Director, EY

Nerida Jessup

Senior Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills

Dr Paul Taylor

Director Chemicals Policy, Safe Work Australia

Adrian Manessis

Director, MYOSH

Ted Dorhmann

Managing Director, Dohrmann Consulting

Deborah Keep

Safety Culture and Leadership Specialist,

Louise Dubois

Director Safety and Recovery Unit, People & Culture, NSW Ambulance

Dervla Loughnane

Director and Founder, Virtualpsychologist

Brent Hedley

Head of Mental Health & Wellbeing, Australian Football League Players' Association

Sharee Johnson

Senior Consultant, Potential Project Australia

Blair Richards

Director Safety Program Strategy Management & Initiatives, Australia Post

Ben Thomas

National HSE Manager, Sodexo

Hayden Fricke

Managing Director, PeopleScape

Robert Fosterlee

Fatigue Management Specialist, Civil Aviation Safety Authority

James Curtin

Senior Manager – Occupational Health & Safety, Master Builders Association of Victoria

Nathalie Heynderickx

Management Consultant, Potential Project Australia

Jasper Milligan

Head of Infrastructure Operations, Metro Trains Melbourne

Sarah-Jane Dunford

Director and Principal, Consultant of Riskology

Stacey Tomley

Assistant Director, Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

Halil Ahmet

Principal Hygienist, Improvement Programs & Specialist Services, WorkSafe Victoria

Pre-Conference Workshops

WORKSHOP A: Beyond the hype: putting mindfulness to work to build safe, resilient organisations
09:00 – 12:00

In this practical, in-depth workshop we will draw on the insights from the Potential Project, a global leadership training, organisational development and research firm that helps leaders and organisations enhance performance, innovation and resilience through mindfulness and other practices grounded in neuroscience and research.

You’ll walk away with practical tools on:

  • How to harness the potential of your mind in your own work – to improve clarity, focus and awareness.
  • How to assess and influence the conditions for others to create cultures of greater situational awareness and wellbeing.
  • How to gain executive buy-in and align the safety, wellbeing and performance agenda through a focus on the mind.
  • How to assess the efficacy of the mind component of interventions in your workplace, and set the conditions for maximum impact.

Sharee Johnson, Senior Consultant, Potential Project

WORKSHOP B: Industrial Manslaughter
13:00 – 16:00

As more details on Industrial Manslaughter in Victoria come to light over the next few months, it is important for employers and senior managers to clearly understand the changes that need to be made to existing training and incident response processes, policies and systems. While we may all debate the merits of such offences, one thing is clear: all organisations need to be ready.

Topics covered include:

  • Current status of IM offences around Australia including responses to the recommendations in the Boland Model WHS Laws Review
  • How the proposed IM offences planned for Victoria change the existing OHS laws in the state, from other jurisdictions across Australia, and what it means for employers
  • The new approach to offences: what the shift from ‘recklessness’ to ‘negligence’ or ‘gross negligence’ means for companies, individuals and managers
  • Areas of responsibility of individuals in a company, multiple overlapping duty holders, and highlighting how to distinguish the roles of individual workers and officers, managers and directors
  • What legal approach should individuals and companies take in relation to incidents where there is a risk of the industrial manslaughter offence being deployed by prosecutors, compared with other offences under OHS laws? How can a company prepare for this?
  • Explore incident response protocols and processes, and address potential conflicts of interest between individuals and the company

This will be an interactive workshop with discussion and case studies and provide you with practical checklists for matters to consider in updating your health and safety training materials and incident response protocols. The workshop will include exploring hypothetical incident scenarios to understand the types of conduct that could result in an IM offence and apply the principles and approach to legal strategies discussed.

Facilitator: Alena Titterton, Partner, Clyde & Co

Workshop Facilitators

Alena Titterton, Partner, Clyde & Co

Sharee Johnson, Senior Consultant, Potential Project


Safety in Action Conference

Early bird rate  // Expires 30 June 2019

  • Conference Package (Both days): $1,495 + GST
  • Day Package (Day 1 or Day 2): $995 + GST

Standard rate  // From 01 July 2019

  • Conference Package (Both days): $1,695 + GST
  • Day Package (Day 1 or Day 2): $1,295 + GST



Past Speaker Interviews

Co-located Conferences

Presented by Safety in Action

With the three conferences running in adjacent rooms, you will be able to switch sessions and plan a track to suit your requirements.

Safety in Action Conference

The Safety in Action Conference is a two-day, high profile conference for Safety leaders. As the premier conference of the year, the Safety in Action Conference brings together Safety leaders in the health and safety profession, to encourage Australia-wide learning and networking across the two days. Over 700 delegates have attended the conference in the last two years to hear from regulators, thought-leaders and International keynotes who are making a difference in safety culture.

Workplace Wellness Conference

This year’s program will hear from industry leaders identifying strategies to enhance the mental and physical wellbeing and productivity of the Australian workforce. Encouragingly, we are seeing a shift away from piece-meal solutions to more integrated, holistic approaches. This conference will shine a light on the states, companies and organisations leading the way. Hear and learn about stories, strategies, measurable indicators, and policy updates on a range of issues; from better understanding and responding to PTSD, to chronic stress management, from promoting healthier lifestyles to building employee engagement.

Return to Work Conference

Employees have the right to, and employers the obligation the duty to provide, a timely and safe return to work, whether it be following a physical or psychological injury. This year’s program will explore best practice strategies that support the process and management of rehabilitation. It will also highlight preventative approaches and programs, as well as how to better navigate the Workers Compensation process.

Safety in Action Tradeshow

The three conferences are held concurrently with the Safety in Action Show. The Safety in Action Tradeshow is Australia’s leading Occupational Health and Safety event dedicated to the safety, security and well-being of the Australian workforce. Thousands of OH&S professionals across the industry have visited Safety in Action to discover new solutions to help them achieve their goals in creating safer workplaces.

Engage in three dedicated safety zones, network with over 120 exhibitors, learn from industry experts during free safety seminars, source the latest innovative products and services and get involved in the interactive opportunities the Show has to offer. A must-attend for every OH&S professional. Safety in Action is trade only event and is free to attend. For more information, visit the Safety in Action Show website. For more information, visit the Safety in Action Show website.

Watch the 2018 Highlights Video

when & where

10 - 11 Sep 2019

Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Convention Centre Pl
South Wharf
VIC 3006

Book Accommodation with Lido Group

For your convenience Lido Group will manage your accommodation needs. Click here or call Lido on 02 8585 0808.


Still have a question?

Margaret Young
Conference Producer
02 9080 4037

Josko Kazija
Sponsorship Manager
02 9080 4143

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